By Kirsten Crandall (Joint PhD candidate, Dr. Virginie Millien, McGill University and Dr. Jeremy Kerr, University of Ottawa)
As temperatures warm, tick-borne diseases (e.g., Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, babesiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and Powassan virus) are predicted to spread further into Canada due to the northward movement of the mammal and bird hosts transporting infected ticks. Over the past decade, the number of reported cases of tick-borne diseases in Canada has increased exponentially, with many cases occurring in Ontario and Quebec. In the future, tick-borne diseases will become an even greater public health problem in Canada. How are infectious diseases transmitted by ticks? Why are mammals a big part of the problem? How can we protect ourselves when we are out in nature? We will discuss these questions and more using the current research findings on tick-borne disease in Canada and the interprovincial comparison that is being conducted as part of my Ph.D. research.